The Business Challenge
The Internet is the lifeblood of SmartDraw Software, LLC. The company’s signature solution, SmartDraw, is a visual processing software which provides templates for 70 types of visuals, from flowcharts to floor plans. Approximately 12,000 SmartDraw trial versions are downloaded each day, and nearly all customer interactions and purchases occur online as well. Every critical business system and application at SmartDraw has been virtualized on VMware vSphere including web servers and the customer relationship management (CRM) database. SmartDraw has 70 virtual machines (VMs) in its IT infrastructure.
“It’s imperative that we know we can recover VMs fast if we have a problem,” said Mark Sulzen, Vice President of Information Technology for SmartDraw. “But this wasn’t the case when we outsourced to a third party for VM backups. Backups weren’t completing in what we believed to be a reasonable timeframe, VMs sometimes froze during the backup process, and restoring a VM could take hours or days. We also had no reporting or monitoring capabilities, making our jobs more challenging. We did our research and made two big decisions: we decided to bring VM backups in-house and install the Swiss Army knife of VM management software.”
The Veeam Solution
SmartDraw’s IT team chose the Veeam® Management Suite™ — a cohesive solution for VMware and Hyper-V backup, replication, monitoring and reporting.
“The Veeam Backup Management Suite handles a variety of tasks, which makes protecting and managing our virtual environment so much easier and saves us roughly 40 hours each week,” Sulzen said.
The Veeam Management Suite has two components: Veeam Backup & Replication™ for fast, flexible and reliable data protection for VMs, and Veeam ONE™ for real-time monitoring and alerting, documentation and management reporting, “Veeam Backup & Replication gives us the confidence we need to restore VMs quickly if we have a problem,” he said. “It starts with fast, agentless backup, which completes within a reasonable timeframe and without the bother of licensing and managing agents on every VM. Veeam also automatically verifies that every backup is recoverable, which is extremely reassuring.
“Then comes fast VM recovery. Before Veeam, restoring a VM could take us hours or days. With Veeam, it takes minutes. But here’s the best part for us: Veeam offers granular recovery from any virtualized application or file system, so we can restore specific databases from our SQL Server or emails from Microsoft Exchange fast, and we don’t have to restore the entire VM. That is huge. Instead of restoring the whole VM, we can extract the exact item we need from the backup file.”
In addition to backing up VMs from the company’s datacenter in San Diego to its main office, Sulzen and his colleagues also replicate VMs to their disaster recovery site in another state.
“Veeam replication really came in handy when we moved our San Diego datacenter,” Sulzen said. “We experienced a power problem with an ISP and needed to switch to a new datacenter. We used Veeam to flip our production servers to the DR site so we could keep our vital websites up and running during the move. We failed over to the DR site replicas and failed back to the new datacenter so easily. Veeam did an excellent job. It was a great success story.”
SmartDraw’s IT team also relies on Veeam ONE—the second component of the Veeam Management Suite.
“With Veeam’s monitoring and reporting, we get alerts about potential problems before they happen, enabling us to resolve them proactively,” Sulzen said. “For example, we were alerted to a disk space issue on our SQL Server that could have brought down our production system. Instead, we quickly identified and deleted the problematic log files and avoided a huge headache. Veeam ONE also helps with capacity planning by telling us when we’re getting tight on resources and need more space. With Veeam ONE, we finally have the visibility we need into our virtual environment.”
Backing up, restoring and replicating VMs is fast and easy
With Veeam, SmartDraw’s IT team backs up and recovers VMs 10 times faster than the previous backup product. And, Veeam’s SureBackup™ automatically verifies the recoverability of every backup, every time.
Granular recovery is available for all file systems and applications
Veeam’s Instant File-Level Recovery lets SmartDraw’s IT team recover individual files and folders from any guest file system directly from an image-level backup. Veeam’s U-AIR™ (Universal Application-Item Recovery) lets the team recover individual items from any virtualized application, on any operating system, without additional backups, agents or software tools.
Complete visibility into virtual environment enables proactive management
Veeam provides complete monitoring, performance analysis, alerting and reporting capabilities that enable SmartDraw’s IT team to identify and respond to incidents more quickly than before. Veeam helps team members enhance the performance, configuration and utilization of their virtual infrastructure.